1. Dalgona (Whipped) Coffee

Maia Annunziato

This trend takes us wayyy back to January of 2020 when recipe videos of the South-Korean drink started circulating on YouTube and TikTok.

Dalgona coffee is a whipped drink consisting of equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and cold water over iced milk. This creamy coffee beverage became a huge hit among homebound Americans during the pandemic.

If you haven't had a chance to whip up your own Dalgona coffee, I would highly recommend doing so. It is perfect for coffee-lovers who love a strong coffee flavor, and the creamy texture is so luxurious. Plus, it only makes a couple of minutes to make. Find the recipe I used here.

2. Home-baked bread

Real Bread

Angel Ganev on Flickr

Baking bread at home, specifically sourdough bread, was another common trend in 2020. The pandemic sparked a newfound interest in the ancient skill of bread making, which has been around for over 10,000 years. 

Why did this trend start? Well, it could be because the act kneading, proofing, and baking provides people with stress relief and a sense of accomplishment. Or, it could be because lots of grocery stores were running out of bread. Either way, it was clear that even novice bakers had the extra time this year to spend crafting a perfect loaf.

Though tending to sourdough starter is time consuming, the rewards are well worth the effort. What could be more comforting than a warm, freshly baked bread on your countertop?

3. Impossible Whopper

Impossible burger with fries

sarahstierch on Flickr

After making their mainstream debut at Burger King last year, Impossible Whoppers (and other meat alternatives) are now becoming available at a variety of establishments. I finally had the chance to try an Impossible burger for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I must say that I was quite impressed with it. If I didn't know that it wasn't real meat, I probably wouldn't have tasted a difference. 

However, despite being lower in cholesterol and high in fiber, the unfortunate downside is that the Impossible Whopper is packed with a lot of sodium compared to regular beef patties.

The trend of better-tasting meat alternatives isn't going anywhere. I'm sure in years to come, we'll be seeing a wider variety (and hopefully, healthier) vegan and vegetarian alternatives to our favorite meaty classics.  

4. Hard Kombucha

Homemade kombucha time

Bekathwia on Flickr

If 2019 was the year of hard seltzer, then 2020 has to be the year of hard kombucha. While kombuchas (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions) are relatively new in the U.S., the drink has been around for almost 2,000 years. 

Recently, the consumers' desire for alternatives to beer, and dare I say hard seltzer, is leading to higher sales of spiked kombucha. 

Kombucha itself is a fermented drink with an intense flavor, and it's not for the faint of heart. However, the probiotics, enzymes, and vitamins in the drink may have some health benefits. If you've never tried kombucha before, I recommend starting with the non-alcoholic version to see if you like it first. 

5. Banana Bread

banana and walnut cake

vanessa lollipop on Flickr

As a self-proclaimed banana bread lover, I was thrilled that making this sweet treat was a trend this year. My all time favorite banana bread recipe recommendation is this one from Martha Stewart.  

Banana bread is fairly easy to make, so it's great for novice bakers. Depending on the size of the bread pan, it can take up to an hour to bake. Some people enjoy adding walnuts or chocolate chips to their banana bread, but I prefer to just make the classic version.

6. Charcuterie boards 

Charcuterie Board

monpetitchouphotography on Flickr

It was almost impossible to get through 2020 without an aesthetically-pleasing charcuterie board popping up on your feed. According to Ken Albala, a history professor at University of the Pacific, the overwhelming popularity of charcuterie boards this year is in part due to the rise of do-it-yourself crafting and foodie culture.

Traditional charcuterie, which originated in 15th century France, consisted of cured meats and sometimes cheeses. Contemporary versions of this classic have expanded to include olives, vegetables, breads, fruit, nuts, and much more.

With charcuterie, the possibilities are truly endless. More recently, I've seen "charcuterie-style" boards featuring French fries, pancakes, and even Christmas-themed desserts. I think this trend might be here to stay.

7. Travis Scott's McDonald's meal


wilhelmja on Flickr

From September 8th to October 4th of this year, McDonald's featured rapper Travis Scott's signature meal: a quarter pounder topped with cheese, bacon, and lettuce, alongside fries, BBQ sauce, and a sprite. 

Also known as the "Cactus Jack" meal, this order was requested so many times that some McDonald's restaurants actually ran out of the supplies to make them. 

Due to the Travis Scott meals' extreme popularity, I'm sure McDonald's is preparing for more celebrity collaborations in the near future. 

8. Pancake cereal

Yet another Tik Tok inspired trend was "pancake cereal", because everyone knows that the only thing better than pancakes is mini pancakes. 

All you need to do for this recipe is prepare your normal pancake batter, but instead of pouring a large pancake, use an empty condiment container, piping bag, or teaspoon measuring cup to make a bunch of nickel-sized pancakes. After cooking, you can put them in a bowl and drizzle with maple syrup (or whatever you like to eat your normal pancakes with).

All the time we saved commuting this year meant that pouring, flipping, and cooking 50 baby pancakes to make one bowl of deliciousness was totally acceptable on a quarantine morning.

If you haven't tried these popular foods yet, there are still a few weeks left to do so before we jump into next year's trends. In my opinion however, quite a number of these food fads are delicious enough to deserve a spot on my plate in 2021 as well!